Boro frustrated by Grays
Stevenage Boro 1 Grays Athletic 1 Boro had to settle for a point at home to Grays Athletic on Tuesday evening despite dominating the match for long spells. Grays took a surprise lead in the 14th minute when Danny Charge wriggled his way free down the le
Stevenage Boro 1 Grays Athletic 1
Boro had to settle for a point at home to Grays Athletic on Tuesday evening despite dominating the match for long spells.
Grays took a surprise lead in the 14th minute when Danny Charge wriggled his way free down the left wing before feeding strike partner Petar Rnkovic, who coolly finished past Chris Day.
Boro got back on level terms when Lee Boylan was not picked up inside the penalty area and his tidy finish levelled matters.
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The Boro faithful expected their side to go on and claim the points but an impressive rearguard action from Julian Dicks' side kept Stevenage at bay.
Boylan had another decent chance in the second half while a wonderful long range volley from Peter Vincenti came close to breaking Grays' resistance but ultimately Boro didn't show enough imagination to find the breakthrough.
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Boro came flying out the traps and the revitalised Eddie Odhiambo almost found an opening as early as the third minute when a clever turn and cross on the edge of the box looked destined for Mitchell Cole's head six yards out until Gavin Hoyte got a crucial touch.
Westley's men seemed to have a great deal of purpose about their attacking play in the opening 10 minutes and a lovely move involving Joel Byrom and Ronnie Henry ended with Boylan bringing a fantastic save out of Grays goalkeeper Lee Butcher.
But Boro had a warning that Grays were not merely here to make up the numbers, or lack thereof considering their jerseys were void of them as they had forgotten the kit they had planned to wear.
Danny Charge almost went clear on goal in the 11th minute until a manful interception from Mark Roberts stopped the former St Albans man in his tracks.
But Boro failed to heed the warning and in the 14th minute Grays took the lead through a well worked move. Charge got free down the left and crossed for Rnkovic, who calmly rounded Chris Day before sliding home.
The goal failed to act as a wake-up call though with Boro's passing looking sloppy and lackadaisical with Grays growing in confidence as a result.
Westley called for more urgency from the sidelines but he had to wait until the 34th minute for Boro to carve out a proper chance and they duly equalised.
It owed much to a wonderful piece of quick thinking from Byrom, whose pinpoint free kick found Boylan completely free inside the penalty area and Boro's fox in the box squeezed a shot past Butcher to level and notch his third of the season.
The former Cambridge man could have had his fourth soon afterwards when he met Cole's left wing cross but his firm header flew straight into the grateful arms of Butcher.
Grays were still offering a threat of their own, however, and Glen Poole had a good chance just before the break when the lively Charge found him with a cross-field pass but he blazed a left foot volley over the bar.
Grays sat deeper at the start of the second half allowing Boro to push on. Scott Laird's excellent pass found Cole in behind the Grays back four but, from a tight angle, he slashed his shot well wide.
But in Charge, Grays always carried a threat and when Roberts hesitated midway inside his own half in the 62nd minute the striker was on to him in a flash.
He dispossessed Roberts and was suddenly bearing in on goal but his firmly struck shot was beaten out by Day away from danger much to the relief of the Boro fans.
But Stevenage still looked the more likely to find a winner and Boylan should have done much better in the 69th minute when the ball fell invitingly to him inside the Grays penalty area.
However, the 30-year-old lost his composure and fired a shot that will have to filed in the 'high, wide and handsome' category.
Substitute Vincenti almost found the breakthrough with one of the most sweetly struck volleys from all of 25 yards that you are likely to see but Butcher did well to tip over.
From the resultant corner Vincenti was found but his header was straight at the goalkeeper.
Boro huffed and puffed but ultimately they couldn't blow the Grays house down with Byrom's late long range effort flying over the bar and summing up the home supporters' frustrations.
Boro (4-4-2): Day 6, Henry 6, Albrighton 6 (Drury 60), Roberts 6, Laird 7, Odhiambo 7 (Vincenti 67, 7), Bostwick 7, Byrom 7, Cole 6 (Odubade 78), Boylan 6, Beardsley 6. Subs not used: Bayes, Griffin.
Grays Athletic (4-4-2): Butcher 7, Mawer 6, Uddin 8, Hoyte 8, Braham-Barrett 7, Robson 6, Vernazza 6, Davis 7 (Cutler 84), Poole 6, Charge 8 (Jeffery 72), Rnkovic 6 (Taylor 60). Subs not used: Preston, Beavan.